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Dil hai Englistani

Pervez sings of pain, and you may be pained at his total amnesia of his Indian roots

Dard E Dil
Sony Music
Rs 55

Pervez, singer, composer and songwriter, is self-taught. He moved from Calcutta to Mumbai in the late '80s, and sang 2000 ad jingles for composers like Louis Banks, Vanraj Bhatia and Ranjit Barot. He loves Sting, Lucky Ali and Toni Braxton.

Pervez has sung in films with Laxmikanth Pyarelal (Roop ki Rani, Choron ka Raja), Anand Milind (Muqaddar and Insaaf) and A R Rahman (Ta Ra Rum Pum). You could safely describe him as a rock singer -- he was part of the rock band Shiva, and feels close to that genre. He is also the founder of the bands New Horizon and Utopian Dream.

Dard-e-dil boasts of well-known instrumentalists from the classical and jazz worlds -- Taufiq Qureshi on the tabla, Ulhas Bapat on the santoor, Rakesh Chaurasia on the flute, and Karl Peters on the bass. Yet it seems aimed at those addicted to television music channels, rather than at people who have grown up on Indian popular music.

The tabla is used here and there, but that, and the santoor, are about the only concessions for Indianness in a rock-heavy orchestra. The tunes are like what MTV and Channel V routinely import for us.

The title song -- a racy number -- gives the album its sound identity. The slower Kahan kho gaye is uncannily like Unforgiven from Extreme . In the English version, Winter's tale, Pervez's vocals sound more convincing. Pyar ho gaya is faster, and has an interesting Arab style phrase on the wah guitar (Jayesh Gandhi).

Chaa rahi hai ghata changes tracks and goes on like a love ballad. You'll have to try hard to find out where Ulhas Bapat's santoor comes in -- the phrases sound barely Indian. The tabla adds some resonance, and the bass is neatly mixed to create some noteworthy texture.

Din Jawani takes its rhythm from Thinkin' about you. Mohabbat is the closest Pervez gets to an Indian tune, but his voice seems unable to handle any Indian-style inflection. A pahadi dhun -- the mountain melody style that's so popular -- comes in with the flute interlude.

Keh do takes the album back to its rock mode. Some pop elements too come in. A hummable, familiar-sounding tune. Beqarar resembles the title track in patches, only the beat is heavier and has R&B in it.

Pervez has to get out of his colonial hangover and get a fresh look at himself and his roots if he is to make lasting music. One can't say much of an album that makes even the odd Indian instrument sound alien.

S Suchitra Lata

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